Gap Creek : The Story Of A Marriage (Oprah's Book Club)

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9780743203630: Gap Creek : The Story Of A Marriage (Oprah's Book Club)
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The National Bestseller A New York Times Notable Book

There is a most unusual woman living in Gap Creek. Julie Harmon works hard, "hard as a man" they say, so hard that at times she's not sure she can stop. People depend on her.

She is just a teenager when her brother dies in her arms. The following year, she marries Hank and moves down into the valley. Julie and Hank discover that the modern world is complex, grinding ever on without pause or concern for their hard work. To survive, they must find out whether love can keep chaos and madness at bay.

With Julie, Robert Morgan has brought to life one of the most memorable women in modern American literature with the skill that led Fred Chappell to say "Gap Creek is the work of a master."

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Review:

Oprah Book Club® Selection, January 2000: Robert Morgan's Gap Creek opens with one wrenching death and ends with another. In between, this novel of turn-of-the-century Appalachian life works in fire, flood, swindlers, sickness, and starvation--a truly biblical assortment of plagues, all visited on the sturdy shoulders of 17-year-old Julie Harmon. "Human life don't mean a thing in this world," she concludes. And who could blame her? "People could be born and they could suffer, and they could die, and it didn't mean a thing.... The world was exactly like it had been and would always be, going on about its business." For Julie, that business is hard physical labor. Fortunately, she's fully capable of working "like a man"--splitting and hauling wood, butchering hogs, rendering lard, planting crops, and taking care of the stock. Even when Julie meets and marries handsome young Hank Richards, there's no happily-ever-after in store. Nothing comes easy in Julie Harmon's world, and their first year together is no exception.

Throughout the novel, Morgan chronicles Julie's trials in prose of great dignity and clarity, capturing the rhythms of North Carolina speech by using only the subtlest of inflections. Clearly the author has done his research too--the descriptions of physical labor practically leap off the page. (Suffice to say, you'll learn far more about hog slaughtering than you ever dreamed of knowing.) Yet he resists the temptation to make his long-suffering characters into saints. Julie simmers with resentment at being her family's workhorse, and Hank flies into a helpless rage whenever he feels that his authority is questioned. In novels like The Truest Pleasure and The Hinterlands, Morgan proved his ability to create memorable heroines. In Gap Creek, he writes with great feeling--but not a touch of sentimentality--about a life Julie aptly calls "both simple and hard."

From the Inside Flap:

There is a most unusual woman living in Gap Creek. Julie Harmon works hard, "hard as a man" they say, so hard that at times she's not sure she can stop.

People depend on her. They need her to slaughter the hogs and nurse the dying. People are weak, and there is so much to do. She is just a teenager when her little brother dies in her arms. That same year she marries Hank and moves down into the valley where fire and visions visit themselves on her and where con men and drunks come calling.

Julie and Hank discover that the modern world is complex, grinding ever on without pause or concern for their hard work. To survive, they must find out whether love can keep chaos and madness at bay.

With Julie, Robert Morgan has brought to life one of the most memorable women in modern American literature with the same skill that led the Boston Book Review to say that he writes "with an authority usually associated with the great novelists of the last century."

In this novel, Morgan returns to the vivid world of the Appalachian high country to follow Julie and Hank in their new life on Gap Creek and their efforts to make sense of the world in the last years of the nineteenth century. Scratching out a life for themselves, always at risk of losing it all, Julie and Hank don't know what to fear most--the floods or the flesh-and-blood grifters who insinuate themselves into their new lives.

Their struggles with nature, with work, with the changing century, and with the disappointments and triumphs of marriage make this a powerful follow-up to Morgan's acclaimed novel, The Truest Pleasure.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781616201760: Gap Creek: A Novel

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  1616201762 ISBN 13:  9781616201760
Publisher: A Shannon Ravenel Book, 2012
Softcover

9781565122963: Gap Creek : The Story of a Marriage

A Shan..., 1999
Hardcover

9780743225359: Gap Creek: The Story of a Marriage (Oprah's Book Club)

Touchs..., 2001
Softcover

9781565122420: Gap Creek: A Novel

Algonq..., 1999
Hardcover

9780786225453: Gap Creek: The Story Of A Marriage (Oprah's Book Club) (Thorndike Press Large Print Basic Series)

Thornd..., 2000
Hardcover

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